CURRENTLY, THE MAJORITY OF WASTE PAPER IN EUROPE (ON AVERAGE 70%) IS RECYCLED; HOWEVER, THE REMAINING 30% IS STILL BURIED AT LANDFILLS OR BURNT. MOSTLY, this 30% ARE MADE UP BY LOW CLASS WASTE PAPER, WHICH REQUIRES A MORE COMPLICATED RECYCLING PROCESS. SINCE 2018, THE COMPANY SIA “BALTICFLOC” USES LOW CLASS WASTE PAPER WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF “LIFE PHIPP” PROJECT IN ORDER TO PRODUCE A THERMAL INSULATION MATERIAL, COMBINING THE WASTE PAPER WITH HIGH-VALUE HEMP FIBRE.
Around 23 million tonnes of waste paper come to European landfills every year. It is calculated that almost 4m3 of wood is saved by recycling 1 tonne of waste paper. Based on this calculation, it follows that 12-14 mature trees would be saved by recycling just 1 tonne of waste paper. The majority of these 23 million tonnes is classified as low class waste paper.
WHAT DOES FALL UNDER THE CATEGORY OF LOW CLASS WASTE PAPER?
Low class waste paper includes a wide range of paper products, the qualities of which make difficult their processing after the first use. It can be waste paper with short fibre or dirty paper. The category of low class waste paper also includes paper packaging, composite material (material consisting of more than one material), and other paper products, which have lost their initial shape or do not comply with standards set for recycling.
HOW LIFE PHIPP PROJECT WILL HELP TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?
The main objective of the project is to create an innovative waste paper – hemp fibre building insulation material in plates and to show vividly the economic and environmental advantages of production and use of such material.
Also, other not less significant objectives have been set within the project. For example, it is intended to promote the use of waste paper – hemp fibre plates in the insulation of buildings and to reduce the volume of burning or burying of low class waste paper at landfills. It has to be noted that such a format of production process significantly reduces CO2 emissions, compared to the production process of other thermal insulation materials, which makes this method even more environmentally-friendly. In addition, the project will promote the development of a circular economy in regions.
The defined objectives are clear and understandable, but how is it planned to achieve the results? First of all, technical specifications will be compiled and sketches will be prepared for the development of the pilot production line. Also, huge efforts are required to develop the thermal insulation material recipe, test and launch the material on the market. Considering the project specifics, one of the required activities is the registration of patent documentation to protect the innovative approach.
During the project, it is intended to acquaint the European market with the production process and the product itself in order to ensure technology transfer. Moreover, the general public and industry professionals will be informed about this innovative product. The project closing activities also involve certification of thermal insulation plates and insulation of first demo houses in Germany, Great Britain, Finland, and Latvia!
Cultivation of industrial hemp does not require using of fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides. Cultivation of hemp also improves the soil quality and suppresses the growth of perennial weeds. An important factor in choosing hemp is that the plant itself and processes of production of hemp products do not generate CO2 emissions in nature, at the same time, absorbing CO2 already existing in nature. In addition to that, hemp has a very valuable quality – its fibre serves as a great construction material, and the production of hemp fibre requires 7-8 times less energy consumption than the production of the same amount of synthetic fibre. During the production process, hemp can be fully used, without generating any waste.
WHAT WILL BE THE PROJECT RESULTS?
Currently, it is estimated that duration of the life cycle of the new production line will be at least 10 years, during which production of 250 m3 of waste paper-hemp thermal insulation material could be ensured on a daily basis. The innovative thermal insulation plates will be not only more environment-friendly, but will also have better thermal insulation and sound insulation qualities than other popular thermal insulation materials. Other advantages of these plates will involve air permeability, easy disposal and care for health. To achieve the most optimal result, various mixes and combinations of the thermal insulation material are tested within the project to adapt to different markets and different desires of consumers. This innovative product created in Latvia will arouse interest among the industry professionals around Europe, including the potential technology entrepreneurs, managers of paper waste and professional associations of engineers and architects.
PROJECT “PAPER – HEMP INSULATION PILOT PRODUCTION” (LIFE PHIPP, LIFE17ENV/LV/000335) IS IMPLEMENTED WITH THE FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION LIFE PROGRAM AND STATE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY REPUBLIC OF LATVIA ADMINISTRATION OF LATVIAN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION FUND.